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Garden of the Season – Greenbank Garden

March 1st 2022

Why Should We Visit

Many of Scotland’s great gardens are on a grand scale, but despite surrounding an elegant 18th century house, the two and half acres of gardens at Greenbank have been designed along domestic lines and there are lots of ideas that visitors can take away and try out at home.

The walled garden is protected by woodland and offers a sheltered space for spring bulbs and herbaceous flowers to flourish and the setting provides a tranquil spot, close to the city to escape into nature.

There’s a cafe and a plant sales area and Greenbank Garden is a popular spot for locals and visitors.

Story Of The Garden

Greenbank was built in the 1763 for Robert Allason who made his money as a tobacco merchant and slave trader in the days when Glasgow was the second city of the British Empire. The walled garden was built at the same time as the house, and both are surrounded by tall, swaying beeches. After the American Wars of Independence, Allason went bankrupt and lost the house and estate.

Over the next two centuries, the house was owned by a number of families, including several generations of the Hamilton family. In 1961 it was bought by William P. Blyth who, with his wife, transformed the grounds from fruit and vegetable growing to the ornamental gardens that are seen today. Then, in 1976, Mr & Mrs Blyth gifted the house, walled garden, and estate to the National Trust for Scotland who made the decision to make it a showcase garden, providing inspiration for the suburban homes that had grown up on the edges of the estate.


In February the 16 acres of woodlands around Greenbank are carpeted in snowdrops and as these fade the daffodils start to appear. Greenbank has a fine collection of daffodils, with more than 450 different varieties, which enjoy the heavy clay soil. These are then succeeded by sheets of bluebells.

Don’t Miss

The walled garden at Greenbank opens for the season on 1 April and amongst its most beautiful features is a bronze statue called ‘Foam’ that stands in the centre of the pond. This statue, by Charles d’Orville Pilkington Jackson, was first exhibited at the Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park in 1938. It was subsequently exhibited at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988. Greenbank is also home to a National Collection of Bergenia, with many different varieties grown together so that visitors can compare them.

Anything Else To Look Out For

The tall hedges within the walled garden divide the area into 12 separate ‘rooms’, each with their own individual character. There are herbaceous borders, lawns, greenhouses and Alpine beds. The gardens contain over 3,700 plants including cherry blossom, astilbe, primulas, azaleas and rhododendrons.

Best Time To Visit

Even before the walled garden opens in spring, the woodlands surrounding Greenbank are filled with witch hazel, viburnum and scented sarcococca, while the ground is covered in woodland flowers and bulbs.

Woodland snowdrops.

Greenbank Garden in Clarkston near Glasgow. May 2009.

Any Recommendations in the Area

Dams to Darnley Country Park has been developed over the last 20 years as a space for people and wildlife. It sits between Barrhead, Darnley and Newton Mearns and its most distinctive feature are five, interconnected reservoirs that are fed by the Brock Burn. Downstream there are ancient woodlands, a range of habitats for wildflowers and wildlife, and paths for walking, cycling and horse riding.


Greenbank Garden sits off Flenders Road in Clarkston.


Woodland open daily.

Garden and house open from 1 April, 10am - 5pm, £8.50/£6

Join the National Trust for Scotland from £4.65 per month.

Tel: 0141 616 5126

Courtesy of The Herald